Story Summary

CTA debuts Ventra Cards

People in Chicago now have a new way to pay for rides on trains and buses.

The Ventra Card is made its debut in September, and replaces the current fare cards used on CTA and Pace.

Go to ventrachicago.com for more information.

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Some Chicago aldermen are demanding City Council hearings into the trouble-plagued rollout of the CTA’s new Ventra fare card.

This afternoon, CTA president Forrest Claypool will announce he is ordering Cubic, the operator of Ventra, to fix its problems fast.

Fare readers sometimes don’t accept the cards; cards can take too long to arrive by mail; and the complaint call centers often have long hold times.

The CTA will allow its customers to use the old Chicago Card Plus while Ventra’s problems are fixed.

With the rocky rollout of the Ventra fare card system, the CTA is now temporarily bringing back its old fare cards that were no longer being sold.

In Wednesday’s abrupt reversal, the CTA resumed selling magnetic-striped transit cards at rail systems. Also, Chicago Card customers can again add values to their old cards.

Both of these options had been cut off Monday to push riders into using Ventra before it takes over completely in mid-December.

The CTA knew it had to do something to ease things after thousands of people trying to enroll in the Ventra system experienced much frustration, waiting on the phone with customer service for up to an hour.

CTA officials had planned on doubling their customer service representatives to address things, but now say they’ll triple the number of reps to about 300.

The problems continue as the CTA rolls out its new Ventra card system.

Thousands of people trying to enroll into the Vetra system had to wait on the phone with customer service for up to an hour.

According to the Chicago Sun-times, of the 10,000 people who called by Monday afternoon, 7,500 pushed zero to speak to a live person.

The Ventra call center was deluged with more than 10,000 calls by midafternoon, resulting in 33-minute average waits to talk to a live operator, the CTA said.

Officials plan to double their customer service representatives.

Thousands of Ventra cards are also still in the mail, after CTA promised riders they would be delivered since late August, CTA officials said.

Riders can still use magnetic stripe cards, if there’s already a balance on them.

Chicago Card Plus customers who haven’t activated their Ventra accounts can continue to have money automatically loaded from bank accounts or credit and debit cards onto their Plus accounts until they receive their Ventra card and activate it, the CTA said.

Nov. 14 is the last day to use Chicago Cards and Chicago Card Plus cards, officials said.

 

The CTA starts a new phase in the transition to the Ventra fare system today.

Starting today, the transit agency will stop selling magnetic stripe passes.

People with Chicago Card passes won’t be able to reload money onto their cards.

The CTA will allow Chicago Card Plus users to add money.

But starting November 15, riders won’t be able to use either Chicago Card.

On December 15, card readers will only accept Ventra cards.

At least one-third of CTA riders have already made the transition to Ventra, but many say there are serious glitches.

The CTA says it plans to have extra workers on hand over the next two weeks to help with the transition.

The key points to remember:

  • Chicago Card and Chicago Card Plus passes will no longer work after November 15th.
  • Magnetic stripe cards will stop working on December 15th.
  • If you have a balance left on those cars when they expire, you can get it transferred but you have to do that by March 31 or you’ll lose the money.=

For more information, go to: transitchicago.com

CTA and Pace riders are in for more changes today as current passes continue to get phased out for the new Ventra cards.

As transition continues, the complaints and confusion surrounding Ventra pile on.

Starting October 7th, rail stations will stop selling magnetic stripe passes.

Also, commuters with Chicago Card passes won’t be able to reload money onto their cards.

This is the next step of the Ventra transition.  Since the public rollout of the card on September 9th, riders have noted problems with the new machines and trying to load money onto the new cards.  They say phone calls to the helpline often go unanswered and new cards aren’t arriving in the mail as promised.

CTA says it plans to have extra personnel on hand over the next two weeks to help customers transition.

The key points to remember:

  • Chicago Card and Chicago Card Plus passes will no longer work after November 15th.
  • Magnetic stripe cards will stop working on December 15th.
  • If you have a balance left on those cars when they expire, you can get it transferred but you have to do that by March 31 or you’ll lose the money.

To see the transition dates for all CTA and Pace cards, log on to  http://www.transitchicago.com/ventrabenefits/

To view all neighborhood informational meetings (where you can also transfer balance from current card to Ventra) log on to http://www.transitchicago.com/news/default.aspx?Month=&Year=&Category=2&ArticleId=3205

Mass transit riders are approaching a deadline in the switch to Ventra Cards. Starting Monday, you will no longer be able to add money to your Chicago card.

Chicago Card Plus users can still add money, until they activate their Ventra Cards.

Both Chicago Cards become useless on November 15.

Ventra has now been used for about one third of CTA rides, since it launched.

Common complaints about the transition include long waits on the customer service hotline, balance inaccuracies, and waiting weeks to get the card in the mail. That is clearly not the problem Dan Lasky

Lasky says he received more than 100 Ventra cards in his mailbox Thursday. They came with a notice that said he had more mail waiting for him at the post office.

Lasky says he has also received 271 Ventra-related e-mails.

Starting today, people in Chicago will have a new way to pay for rides on trains and buses.

The Ventra Card is making its transit debut today.  The Ventra Card replaces the current fare cards used on CTA and Pace.

To use the cards, riders can tap the Ventra cards on readers at rail station turnstiles and bus entrances.

You can buy the cards at Ventra vending machines at CTA train stations or at 700 stores, including CVS, Jewel-Osco, and Walgreens.

The $5 fee to get the card will be waived if you sign up online at ventrachicago.com or by calling or visiting the Ventra Customer Service center at 165 N. Jefferson.

CTA’s new Ventra card can officially be used to pay for train and bus rides tomorrow.

The Ventra card will eventually take the place of the other fare cards on the train and bus.

Riders can still use their current fare cards for the next few months.

ventra

If you plan to use the new Ventra cards to ride the CTA, you’re getting a little financial break.

From now through the end of the year, the agency is waiving the $5 fee for the transit card.

But you have to get it online, or by calling or visiting the Ventra office.

Chicago card customers will begin to transition to Ventra starting in the middle of next month.

Riders are advised to spend down the value on their existing fare cards but balances can be transferred to the new Ventra system.

For more information, go to ventrachicago.com

The Pace suburban bus system will host public outreach meetings over the next ten days to help riders get acquainted with the new Ventra fare payment system.

Pace and the CTA will both be using the Ventra system soon, with a full roll out expected in September.

A total of nine outreach meetings in six counties are on tap, the first two are Monday, July 15 at the Homewood Village Hall at noon and the Joliet Public Library at 4 p.m.

FULL SCHEDULE:

Event

Date/Time

Location

South Cook County

Monday,

July 15, 2013

12:00 pm

Homewood Village Hall

Board Room

2020 Chestnut Rd.

Homewood, IL 60430

Will County

Monday,

July 15, 2013

4:00 pm

Joliet Public Library

Meeting Rm. B (second level)

150 N. Ottawa St.

Joliet, IL   60432

North Cook County

Tuesday,

July 16, 2013

11:00 am

Pace Headquarters

Board Room

550 W. Algonquin Road

Arlington Heights, IL  60005

Lake County

Thursday,

July 18, 2013

12:00 pm

Waukegan Public Library

Bradbury Room (lower level)

128 N. County Street

Waukegan, IL  60085

McHenry County

Thursday,

July 18, 2013

3:30 pm

Crystal Lake Municipal

Complex, Council Chambers

100 W. Woodstock St.

Crystal Lake, IL 60014

Kane County

Monday,

July 22, 2013

5:00 pm

Kane County Government Center

Auditorium, Ground Floor

719 S. Batavia Ave

Geneva, IL  60134

West Cook County

Tuesday

July 23,  2013

5:00 pm

Howard Mohr Community Center

7640 Jackson Blvd.

Forest Park, IL 60130

Southwest Cook County

Wednesday July 24, 2013

3:00 pm

Oak Lawn Village Hall

9446 S. Raymond Ave.

Oak Lawn, IL 60453

DuPage County

Thursday,

July 25, 2013

4:00 pm

DuPage County Government Center

Auditorium

421 N. County Farm Road

Wheaton, IL 60187

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